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Afghanistan Approves Qatar Office For Taliban

A group of former Taliban militants receive clothes and copies of the Koran as they surrender their weapons during a reconciliation ceremony in Helmand late last year.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has said that his country supports the Taliban's decision to open a political office in the Persian Gulf state of Qatar to facilitate peace negotiations.

Karzai's office said in a statement on January 4 that Afghanistan "agrees with negotiations between the United States and the Taliban, which will lead to the establishment of an office in Qatar."

Karzai's statement comes a day after U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the U.S. would back the deal if it led to a negotiated end to the Afghan war.

Nuland's comments were made in response to an announcement by the Afghan Taliban on January 4 that it had reached a preliminary agreement to set up a political office in Qatar, and asked for the release of prisoners held in the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay.

The Taliban office is seen by Western and Afghan officials as a crucial step toward the goal of reaching a negotiated end to a decade of war in Afghanistan.


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